"The flower doesn't dream of the bee; it blossoms and the bee comes." -Mark Nepo

This isn't to say that online dating can't work, but why it often fails. Countless people I know have lamented their hopelessness in relation to online dating--why can't I find anyone good? why does nothing ever work out? It's not that they aren't wonderful people, but rather that they haven't found someone compatible at the right time and place in their life. I've been in a couple relationships that started via online dating, but haven't been able to surmount certain difficulties that I wouldn't have to face through other means. Online dating does work sometimes for some people, but most of us are left empty-handed and disappointed.

1. Lack of social repercussions 

One of the core aspects of a successful romantic partnership involves the integration of both partners into each other's lives, whether that means social, familial, or otherwise. The inherent separateness of those who meet online make it awfully easy to slip past the social safety net and remain separate, hindering the development of potentially good relationships and allowing for others to avoid social consequences of behavior like ghosting and evading real conversations. Those who date within related social circles have the advantage of social pressures to be their best selves and treat those they meet as special individuals.

2. Unrealistic expectations


Though the phenomenon of 'love at first sight' occurs on occasion, the notion that feelings should take hold early on in an online dating relationship is based on unrealistic expectations in contrast to dating someone you're friends with or who you've known for a while. In the latter situation, it is likely that feelings have already taken hold and dating is the subsequent step. Romantic feelings take time--it is hard to know whether they will develop on the first few dates. At one point I went on a first date with a guy I had a lot in common with and we both had a wonderful time; however, he decided it wouldn't work because he didn't have romantic feelings for me after one date (that was his first time meeting someone online). Who knows what would've happened if he gave us a chance?

3. "What do you really want from me?"

The question of whether someone wants a hookup, casual relationship, serious relationship, etc., or if they even know what they want is difficult to ascertain with online dating sites. Oftentimes people initiate conversations out of boredom or a need for validation, rather than sincerely wanting to meet up--or want to meet up, but simply for a hookup. Finding real relationships through online dating is extraordinarily difficult, especially in college.

4. Unlimited Options

The illusion of an unlimited number of options in terms of potential partners devalues the individual in favor of more superficial evaluations of a person. There aren't an unlimited number of options, but when people try to take advantage of all the world has to offer, it's easy to see how some people would end up with none. Or at least in the midst of exhaustion and regret. Compare that to the workplace or classes--there are so few options, but they tend to align more closely with your interests and stage of life.

5. Objectification

The most important consideration for online dating is the profile pic, whether it's attractive enough, interesting enough, flattering enough, etc. You don't have a good sense of a person from a simple glance at their photos and bio--or even whether you would be compatible with them. Developing a relationship in an organic fashion lends itself better to a stable foundation for success however you define that.

6. Why they decided to online date

seniors dating freshman

Oftentimes people turn to online dating after a rough breakup or time in their life to alleviate their own sorrows without considering whether they're at a good place to date. Or they're too busy to date through other means, so they turn to online dating--unfortunately, this means they'll often be too busy for you, but expect you to stick around anyways. Question your own reasons for considering online dating--are you in a good place for a relationship, are you seeking validation and attention, are you ready to bring someone else into your life?

You are definitely allowed to try online dating--maybe you'll prove me wrong and find your own diamond in the rough. You have to ask yourself what you really want in a relationship and do not compromise for the sake of a relationship in and of itself. Be prepared to deal with countless potential partners who will bring all sorts of frustrations to your life, if you are determined to meet someone online. Sometimes it is difficult to meet people through other means, and in that case, online dating could be for you, but be aware of what you're getting into.